Friday, December 10, 2010

HALO BR55HB Battle Rifle Build

When the whole crowd was dressed out for Halloween, I pulled out my big box of HALO weapon props and found only one assault rifle, a trio of pistols, a pair of submachine guns, and four frag grenades.  Deciding that this would not be enough for the lot of us to wield threateningly we decided to go out unarmed.

Since we will be doing a proper photoshoot soon, I figured I ought to get to work on building some armaments.  Since Lopez did such a good job building my Sniper Rifle, I figured I'd have him crank out the battle rifle as well.

Here's the first half cut out:
BR55 Right Side

This is Mallory, my occasional shop assistant, modelling it for scale reference:
BR55 Mallory

Here's both halves glued together with epoxy:
BR55 halves glued

This is what the unpainted, partly-sanded, epoxy-coated prototype looked like when held by a crazy person:
BR55 Test Fit

With a bit of touch-up and detail work, here's the prototype with the first coat of black primer:
BR55HB Right Side

While Lopez did a great job for the most part, I did have to add some material to widen the foregrip, score a few line details, and drill some fastener holes here and there.  Here's a closeup shot:
BR55HB Details

Separately, I built the barrel out of a few pieces of rod and tube stock and a small chunk of MDF:

I didn't glue the forward end on, but I did tack it in place with some two-sided tape for a few pictures:
BR55 Scale shot

BR55 attitude shot

One pic got some photoshop magic (that totally didn't make up for my lacking full costume):
Deadly Shawn

In the above pics, I'd just tacked on a red dot scope that came with a cheap airsoft gun to serve as a placeholder. Here's what the final scope prototype looked like once I'd built it:
BR55HB Scope

Of course, that's not nearly as cool as the winning shop teacher style I adopted while building it:
Shawn Thorsson turning wood

With the scope built, the last step was to spray on some truck bed liner to add texture to the parts of the main body that needed to not be smooth:
BR55HB Textures

Here's the first half of the mold with the mothermold built up and the clay cleaned off of everything:
BR first mold half

After smearing vaseline over the exposed rubber, I built up the second side with its own silicone jacket:
BR Second jacket half

Meanwhile, I'd made block molds for the scope and barrel assemblies and cranked out a few casts:
BR add-on bits

Once the silicone had cured for the second half of the mold, I made the second half of the mothermold:BR Mother Mold

The mothermold was made using urethane casting resin and reinforcing it with fiberglass mat.  I've spent enough time cutting my hands on the countless little spikes that always seem to pop out when I do this that I've finally learned to smooth the surface using some wax paper.

I dyed the resin red because I just happened to have some red pigment handy and I couldn't resist.  Besides, everyone knows that red cars go faster, so maybe red molds will make resin cure faster...

One of the minor challenges for molding this piece was the pair of rails at the forward end of the rifle.  Since there's a gap between them, I had to make the mold with a plug to keep them separate.  Here's the gap left behind when I'd cleaned the clay out:
BR Mold Void
It's not too pretty, but there was a reason for making the edges so bumpy and uneven.  I poured more silicone into the gap and all of those bumps will serve to make sure the parts fit together correctly when it's time to pour castings:
BR Mold Plug

Here's all of the various parts of the molds that I've made to build copies of the rifle:
BR55HB Molds

Here you can see the trigger guard in place.  I decided to use an aluminum insert since this thin part would be too easy to break if it were cast in resin:
BR55HB Trigger Guard Insert

At long last, I'm pleased to present a casting of the BR55HB Battle Rifle, hot outta the mold:
BR55HB Demolding

Here's some sort of maniac holding my first two casts:
BR55HB Dual Wield

Detail shot of the trigger guard cast in place:
BR55HB Trigger Guard

Here's some of the detail bits added in:
BR55HB Detail Bits Added

Comparison shot of the prototype and the first two casts:
BR55HB Castings

I rushed through assembling the first cast so I could see what it would look like in black primer.  It did not disappoint:
BR55HB Primed

Here's a shot of me holding it for scale:
BR55HB Port Arms

And here's a shot of the "first person shooter" view:
BR55HB First Person

Now it's time to paint this baby up to pop out all of the details so I can take some sexier pictures of it.  Stay tuned...


  1. Any chance you will be selling this? Because I’m willing to help you offset your cost on this.

  2. If you're interested in helping me pay for my projects, shoot me an email at